The Calgary Roughnecks (8-5) got closer to a playoff spot with a 15-11 win over the Minnesota Swarm (3-10) before a crowd of 11,008 fans on 'Western Night' at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.
Calgary Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky talked earlier in the week about how games against Minnesota seem to always turn into a shootout. Tonight’s match-up wasn’t any different as Rigger fans saw their team take a 15-11 victory in a back-and-forth game.
“It’s that type of game, they’re young and athletic and they push the ball, we had to push back,” said Malawsky.
“They put a lot of ball pressure on us and sometimes we had to rush the shots, and in fact it did turn out to be a shootout. But we were on the right end of the score and that just goes to show we can play the tight ones and the high scoring ones.”
With the score only 2-1 for Minnesota after the first quarter, it looked as though this game was going to be more of a defensive battle. That all changed in the second quarter when the two teams combined for seven goals and were tied going into the half 5-5.
Malawsky enjoyed the way his team responded, “They (Minnesota) went on that three goal run and we answered back on a couple goal run and then went in to the half tied,” he said.
The goal frenzy continued into the third and fourth quarter where the Swarm was able to put six more passed Necks’ goaltender Mike Poulin. It wasn’t enough however, as the Riggers were able to pot eight more on Swarm goaltender Tyler Carlson before he was pulled from the game. The Necks’ added two more on his replacement Zach Higgins for good measure.
“We’re never out of it, especially with our offence when we stick to what we know,” said Malawsky.
Roughnecks forward Jeff Shattler agrees with his coach.
“Every game we play against those guys we almost go to overtime. They battle, they’ve had bad luck this year, and their stats don’t prove how good of a team they are. They play us really well and they never give up.”
Daryl Veltman (3+1) of the Roughnecks had himself a great game and coach Malawsky knows it.
“Daryl Veltman got the game ball today,” said Malawsky. “Veltman’s been our smartest player offensively, no one really knows outside our four walls how valuable Daryl Veltman is. We talk about sharing responsibility, sharing the floor and sharing the ball, he’s the epitome of it. He doesn’t say nothing, he just goes about his business, he’s a special player to have.”
The Swarm were unavailable for any comment, but one thing the Minnesota organization can be proud of is their leading scorer, Callum Crawford, reached the 500 career point plateau tonight when he scored the Swarm’s 10th goal of the game.
The win tonight moves Calgary one-step closer to that second place playoff berth and a home playoff game.
“Colorado lost tonight, Philly won, so that pushes us a little closer,” said Malawsky. “We can only control what’s in front of us, were going to have a real tough road trip next weekend. One step is to try to get us in the playoffs, to reward the fans and the organization with a home playoff game, but one step at a time.”
Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:
1) Jeff Shattler
2) Daryl Veltman
3) Jordan MacIntosh